Posts tagged with "The Washington Post"

Walt Disney World ‘enthusiasts’ say theme park has ‘lost its magic’

September 20, 2022

A majority of “self-described Disney World enthusiasts” say the Florida theme park has “lost its magic” due to skyrocketing costs, according to findings of a recent study, reports Fox Business.

A study from gambling website Time2play surveyed 1,927 “Disney World enthusiasts”—and, of those, 68.3% reported that the price hikes make them feel like the theme park has “lost its magic.” A whopping 92.6% reported that they believe the high costs for the park has made a vacation for the average family “out of reach.”

A ticket for Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971 was a total of $3.50, according to the study. When adjusting for inflation, that would mean tickets would be about $25.60 today. Instead, tickets for one Disney World park range from $109 to $159 per day, according to the findings.

Nearly 50% of respondents reported postponing a trip due to the price hikes.

All in, Disney World veterans can expect to pay 35.7% more for their next trip compared to their last one, Time2play established.

A chart posted to social media last year by a researcher at SJ Data Visualizations, a U.K.-based firm, shows that prices for Disney World have risen by at least 3,871% since 1971—with prices rising at a more drastic rate in the early 1980s compared to its first decade.

Families spoke out about the prices earlier this year, as traveling picked back up following coronavirus lockdowns, and they expressed shock at the price hikes. One dad of two estimated he would be on the hook for a $4,000 to $5,000 bill, even with one of his kids qualifying for free admission.

“I understand inflation and all of those things. I understand cost increases,” Kentucky father Matt Day told The Washington Post earlier this year on the high prices. “I always had the impression that Disney was a family vacation destination, and that impression is why I was surprised to see how expensive it truly was—and how out of reach it is for most American families.”

“It’s really unprecedented,” said Len Testa, president of theme-park trip-planning site Touring Plans told the Post earlier this year. “We haven’t seen this sort of anger about price hikes in—we can’t remember the last time something like this caused this much anger from Disney fans.”

Walt Disney World’s communications team did not immediately respond to Fox’s request for comment on the study.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

Election deniers repeatedly visited Georgia county office at center of criminal probe, video shows

September 7, 2022

Technology consultants who sought evidence that Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat was fraudulent made multiple visits to a county elections office in rural Georgia in the weeks after an alleged post-election breach of voting equipment there that is the subject of a criminal investigation, reports The Washington Post.

Surveillance video reviewed by The Washington Post shows that the consultants, Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg, made two visits in January 2021 to the elections office in Coffee County, about 200 miles south of Atlanta. Lenberg made an additional five visits on his own. The two men are under investigation for separate alleged breaches of voting machines in Michigan.

The footage also shows that, earlier in January, Cathy Latham, a teacher and then-chairwoman of the county Republican Party, greeted a group of outside data forensics experts when they arrived at the elections office shortly before noon on the day of the alleged breach.

Latham has said in sworn testimony that she taught a full day of school that day and visited the elections office briefly after classes ended. She was one of 16 Republicans who signed certificates declaring Trump the rightful winner of the 2020 election as part of the “fake elector” scheme now under investigation by federal and state prosecutors.

The new video adds to the picture of the alleged breach in Coffee County on January 7, 2021—and reveals for the first time the later visits by Logan and Lenberg. It also provides further indications of links between various efforts to overturn the election, including what once appeared to be disparate attempts to access and copy election system data in the wake of Trump’s loss.

Experts have expressed concern that such efforts could expose details of voting systems’ hardware and software that are intended to be tightly controlled—potentially aiding hackers who might seek to alter the results of a future election.

Data copied from elections systems in other states have been published online. Georgia state officials and voting-machine makers have downplayed the risk, pointing to safeguards that they say protect the systems from tampering.

The Post reported last month that a data forensics firm hired by the pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell copied software and data from the Dominion Voting Systems machines used by Coffee County. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said it is investigating the matter.

Details of the Coffee County incident have come to light, largely because of a flurry of subpoenas and depositions by plaintiffs in a long-running federal lawsuit against Georgia authorities over the security of the state’s elections. Emails and other records they obtained from the data forensics firm, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, showed that the Coffee episode was part of a coordinated multistate effort to access voting equipment in a hunt for evidence that the election was rigged.

The plaintiffs, including several Georgia voters and the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, obtained the new surveillance video in response to a subpoena to county authorities and provided it to the Post.

The security footage shows only the exterior of the office’s entrance area, and it is not clear what the consultants Logan and Lenberg did inside.

The new surveillance footage shows three SullivanStrickler employees arriving at the Coffee elections office at 11:42 a.m. on January 7. Latham had arrived five minutes earlier, the footage shows. She greeted the SullivanStrickler team and led them inside. Shortly before 1 p.m., a fourth employee from the firm arrived.

In her deposition last month, taken by plaintiffs in the long-running civil case, Latham said she recalled having gone to the Coffee County elections office for “just a few minutes” that day—arriving sometime after 3:48 p.m. when she received a text from Misty Hampton, then the county elections supervisor, that said: “Going great so far.”

Asked during the deposition whether it would have been possible for her to go to the election office during work hours, Latham answered: “I mean, I taught a full schedule, I didn’t have a planning period, so I can’t remember.”

Records filed in the civil case last week also show that an attorney for SullivanStrickler described Latham as the “primary point of contact in coordinating and facilitating” the firm’s work in Coffee County.

The footage shows Latham entering the building before noon, then leaving at 1:26 p.m. She returned several minutes after Hampton’s 3:48 p.m. text and then finally departed after 6 p.m., it shows. The building has a side door that is not shown in the footage.

“While Mrs. Latham does not pretend to remember the details of all that occurred on that specific date more than a year and a half ago, she does remember going to the Elections Office after teaching school on January 7, 2021, to check in on some voter review panels from the runoff election, and she truthfully testified to those facts,” Cheeley, her lawyer, told The Post.

The SullivanStrickler team left the building at 7:43 p.m., more than 2½ hours after the office’s regular closing time, the footage shows. Hampton immediately followed.

The data obtained from Coffee County by SullivanStrickler included copies of virtually every component of the county voting system, including the central tabulation server, according to an inventory obtained by the plaintiffs through discovery. The firm billed Powell $26,000 for the day’s work, an invoice shows.

Hampton previously told The Post that she allowed a team of outsiders into her office after the 2020 vote so they could prove “that this election was not done true and correct.”

Hampton and attorneys for Coffee County did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The new surveillance footage shows that on January 18—eleven days after SullivanStrickler completed its work in Coffee County, Logan and Lenberg arrived at the elections office with Hampton at 4:20 p.m.

Logan, 42, was chief executive of the security firm Cyber Ninjas, which was hired by Republican state lawmakers in Arizona to hunt for fraud in the 2020 vote there. The firm’s review found Trump had lost to Joe Biden in Arizona by an even greater margin than the certified result. Logan, of Sarasota, Florida, announced earlier this year that he had shuttered the company.

Lenberg, 66, lives in Tijeras, New Mexico and previously worked in technical roles at a private laboratory operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration. A résumé for Lenberg filed in the Antrim court case stated that he has held high-level security clearances and that his past work included “developing ways to break in (if possible) to what were considered to be secure systems.”

When the pair arrived at the Coffee County elections office, both were carrying backpacks, and Lenberg brought snacks and energy drinks. Hampton and the two consultants were recorded leaving the building nearly four hours later. Logan and Lenberg returned to the elections office shortly before 9 a.m. the next morning, the footage shows, and exited after 6 p.m.

Six days later, on January 25, Lenberg was again recorded arriving at the elections office. He left nearly three hours later, then returned for shorter visits on each of the following four days, the video shows. On one occasion, he was carrying the box for a ring light system typically used to illuminate the subjects of video recordings.

Lenberg was part of an election review team in New Mexico that last month published a report featuring an image of what it called “a system log from a Dominion machine in Georgia.” At a public hearing of the Otero County Commission earlier this year, Lenberg said he had obtained “data from multiple counties” in Georgia and that he met with Hampton of Coffee County.

The Post has reported that, according to computer logs obtained by the plaintiffs, an account in Logan’s name had accessed Coffee County data on SullivanStrickler’s file-sharing system.

In spring 2021, after Hampton resigned, Logan’s business card was found on her desk by her successor, James Barnes. Barnes sent a copy of the card to the secretary of state’s office, expressing alarm in light of the fact that the Justice Department had raised concerns about the ballot review led by Cyber Ninjas in Arizona, according to an email obtained by The Post.

An investigator in the secretary of state’s office was directed to follow up with county officials and “verify what if any contact cyber ninjas had with any election equipment,” emails show. Barnes said in a sworn deposition that state officials never contacted him.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) did not directly address questions from the Post about the agency’s response to Barnes’s concern or say whether the agency sought the security-camera footage at the time.

Raffensperger has said publicly that, after the election, his staff devoted time to pursuing every tip of alleged voter fraud. Raffensperger’s office has told the court that it began investigating the Coffee County matter in February of this year—when allegations of the breach first became an issue in the long-running lawsuit.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it has been working with Raffensperger’s office and opened the criminal case on August 15.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Judge grants Trump’s request for special master to review Mar-A-Lago documents

September 6, 2022

A federal judge will appoint a special master to sift through nearly 13,000 documents and items that the FBI seized on August 8 from Donald Trump’s Florida residence and club, Mar-a-Lago, and identify any that may be protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, according to a court order posted on Monday, September 5, reports The Washington Post.

U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon—who was nominated by Trump in 2020—wrote in her decision that the Justice Department cannot continue reviewing the materials seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago or use them in its criminal investigation until the special master concludes his or her assessment.

But Cannon ruled that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would be allowed to continue its ongoing assessment of the possible risk to national security posed by the removal from government custody of classified documents, some of them related to highly sensitive government and intelligence secrets.

In her opinion, Cannon sided with Trump’s legal team and said that the former president does retain some executive privileges after leaving office—a stance that the Justice Department disagrees with.

“The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege,” the ruling states.

Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said the government “is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation.” A representative for Trump immediately returned requests for comment on the ruling.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that an objective outside expert should review the thousands of White House and government documents that were kept at Mar-a-Lago despite months of efforts by the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Justice Department, to get them back.

In addition to identifying whether any of the documents should be shielded from prosecutors because of attorney-client or executive privilege, lawyers for the 45th president said, such a review would boost “trust” in the ongoing criminal investigation over the possible mishandling of classified documents after Trump left the White House.

Trump and his lawyers and allies have accused the Justice Department of having political motives in conducting the investigation and of unnecessarily escalating it into a criminal probe.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has declined to discuss the ongoing investigation, in keeping with general Justice Department practice. But he said days after the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago that “Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.”

While the FBI raid of Trump’s Florida residence and private club has triggered an outpouring of condemnation from the former president and his Republican allies, some Republicans have said the search may have been necessary.

In an interview that aired Friday, former Trump attorney general William P. Barr said there is no reason classified documents should have been at Mar-a-Lago after Trump was no longer president.

People say this was unprecedented,” Barr said in an interview with Fox News. “But it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?”

In opposing the appointment of a special master, Justice Department lawyers told Cannon they had already sorted through the documents, using a “filter team” to separate out more than 500 pages of potentially privileged documents. That arrangement was approved by a U.S. magistrate judge who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.

Prosecutors said appointing a special master would be pointless, given the previous filter team review—but Cannon disagreed. They also said that there was no legal basis to appoint a special master in this case and that Trump had no rights to possess White House documents once he left office.

On Friday, September 2, Cannon unsealed a detailed inventory list of items seized from Mar-A-Lago. It showed that Trump intermingled classified and unclassified materials in boxes at Mar-A-Lago and had dozens of empty folders that bore a “classification” marking.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

His emotional support animal is an alligator. They sleep in the same bed.

August 30, 2022

Joseph Henney’s emotional support animal WallyGator goes with him almost everywhere—from the grocery store to walks in the park. They hug each other and sleep in the same bed. WallyGator is an alligator, reports The Washington Post.

“When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss,” said Henney, 69, who goes by Joie (pronounced “Joe”) and lives in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, about two hours from Philadelphia. “He’s super sweet-natured.”

The two watch television together on the couch, and when Henney takes him to the farmers market, WallyGator gives hugs to shoppers—as long as they are okay with being that close to a 70-pound reptile with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.

“Wally is definitely not your average crocodilian,” says Henney, explaining that most people in his community are familiar with his seven-year-old, 5½-foot emotional support alligator.

WallyGator has a following on TikTok and Instagram, and he made headlines on  Friday, August 26, after Henney took him to Love Park in Philadelphia.

“He’s a very special gator, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get one,” he said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit.”

Henney’s unusual relationship with WallyGator started in 2015, he said, when a friend called from Florida and asked if he could take in a few gators that had been found in a pond in Orlando. Henney makes a living in woodcrafting, but he has always enjoyed caring for reptiles as a pastime, he said.

Alligators are legal to own in Pennsylvania, and Henney has helped relocate unwanted alligators, snakes, and iguanas to wildlife sanctuaries as a hobby for about 30 years. He keeps his rescue reptiles in his home in separate indoor enclosures that he purchased for this purpose. He then finds sanctuaries or zoos that will take them.

He is usually called to rescue alligators when people take in cute baby gators as pets but they inevitably turn into large animals that can be difficult to handle, he explains. They are, after all, a species that has not changed since the time of the dinosaurs.

Henney told his Florida friend that he could take in three juvenile alligators. After a while, he sent two of the gators to reptile refuges in New York and New Jersey, he said.

But Wally stayed behind: “I bonded with him and was committed to caring for him,” says Henney.

“One of the problems when someone gets an alligator for a pet is they don’t realize they’re in for a long haul,” he said, noting that the reptiles can live 80 years or longer in captivity.

They breathe air and generally live in freshwater, but their skin does not need to stay wet for survival. It isn’t common for people to want alligators as pets, though it does happen more than most people realize, he admits.

“When they get to three feet, nobody wants them,” Henney said. “They can bite and they’re extremely hard to handle.”

Wildlife experts agree: Alligators generally don’t make good pets, and they’re illegal to own in many states. “The jaw pressure from an alligator’s bite force is incredibly strong, and their powerful tails can whip you,” adding, “They are also predators who are hardwired to believe that other creatures want to eat them, so they are defensive early on, he said.

“I definitely assume that [Henney] is an exception when it comes to caring for an alligator—he’s done a good job,” Diaz said. “But most people don’t have that kind of time to devote to a pet alligator’s care.”

The large reptiles require a special diet and enrichment such as logs or live plants to hide under; and running or spraying water to thrive under human care. They should never be handled by people who aren’t trained, said Matt Evans, assistant curator of Herpetology at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.

“If you are interested in working with alligators, volunteer at your local zoo or nature center or get involved with citizen science,” Evans said.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Twitter’s former security chief accuses it of ‘egregious deficiencies’

August 24, 2022

Twitter’s former head of security has accused the company of “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its spam- and hacker-fighting practices, according to a whistle-blower complaint, reports The New York Times.

The complaints by Peiter Zatko, the former executive, said that the shortcomings in enforcing security, privacy, and content moderation policies dated to 2011.

Zatko, a well-known hacker who is known in the security community as Mudge, joined Twitter in late 2020 and was terminated by the company in January of this year.

His complaints were sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Justice Department, and Federal Trade Commission on July 6. The Washington Post and CNN first reported on the complaints.

Zatko accuses Twitter, its CEO Parag Agrawal, and other executives and directors of “extensive legal violations,” including making misleading statements to users, misrepresentations to investors and acting with “negligence and even complicity” toward efforts by foreign governments to infiltrate the platform, according to the complaint filed with the SEC, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The allegations come at a perilous time for Twitter, which is locked in a legal battle with Elon Musk over his efforts to walk away from a $44 billion agreement to acquire the social media company. Twitter has sued Musk to force him to close the deal, and the two sides are set to go to trial at the Delaware Chancery Court in October.

The complaints put forward by Zatko and Musk are in some ways similar—focusing on the number of fake users on Twitter’s website. Musk claims that Twitter’s public disclosures about those figures are materially misleading.

Perhaps most damaging, if true, is Zatko’s allegation that Twitter is in violation of its 2011 settlement with the FTC over its safeguarding of user information. The agency had accused Twitter of “serious lapses” in data security that “allowed hackers to obtain unauthorized administrative control of Twitter” including the ability to send out phony tweets.

A spokesperson for Twitter said Zatko was fired for ineffective leadership and poor performance. “What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” she said.

“Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing,” she said, “appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been companywide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Dick Cheney calls Trump a ‘coward’ in campaign ad for his daughter

August 8, 2022

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in a campaign ad for his elder daughter, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming)—who serves as Vice Chair of the January 6 Committee—said former president Donald Trump is a “coward” and the greatest threat to the nation in its 246-year history, reports The Washington Post.

“He is a coward,” Cheney says in the ad, which was released on Thursday, August 4. “A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election, and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down I think most Republicans know it.”

Liz Cheney faces a tough primary on August 16 for Wyoming’s sole congressional seat, with Trump-backed Harriet Hageman favored to win.

Trump, Cheney said, “tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him.”

The former president has repeatedly spread false claims of voter fraud and a rigged election, the Post reports. The House impeached him on a charge of inciting an insurrection for the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters intent on stopping the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win.

“In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,” Dick Cheney says.

In the ad, the former vice president wears a white cowboy hat and speaks directly to the camera. He says he and his wife, Lynne Cheney, are proud of Liz Cheney for “standing up for the truth, doing what is right, honoring her oath to the Constitution when so many in our own party are too scared to do so.”

Liz Cheney was ousted from her spot as the House’s No. 3 Republican after she voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 insurrection.

“Liz is fearless. She never backs down from a fight,” her father says in the ad. “There is nothing more important she will ever do than lead the effort to make sure Donald Trump is never near the Oval Office again. And she will succeed.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

January 6 texts missing for Trump Homeland Security’s Wolf and Cuccinelli

August 1, 2022

Text messages for former President Donald Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails, reports The Washington Post.

This discovery of missing records for the senior-most homeland security officials, which has not been previously reported, increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack.

The Department of Homeland Security notified the agency’s inspector general in late February that Wolf’’s and Cuccinelli’s texts were lost in a “reset” of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021 in preparation for the new Biden Administration, according to an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and shared with The Washington Post.

The office of the department’s undersecretary of management also told the government watchdog that the text messages for its boss, Undersecretary Randolph “Tex” Alles, the former Secret Service director, were also no longer available due to a previously planned phone reset.

The office of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari did not press the department leadership at that time to explain why they did not preserve these records, nor seek ways to recover the lost data, according to the four people briefed on the watchdog’s actions.

Cuffari also failed—for months—to alert Congress to the potential destruction of government records.

The revelation comes on the heels of the discovery that text messages of Secret Service agents—critical firsthand witnesses to the events leading up to January 6—were deleted more than a year ago and may never be recovered.v

The news of their  missing records set off a firestorm  because the texts could have corroborated the account of a former White House aide describing the president’s state of mind on January 6. In one case, the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson said a top official told her that Trump had tried to attack a senior Secret Service agent who refused to take the president to the Capitol with his supporters marching there.

In a early identical scenario to that of the DHS leaders’ texts, the Secret Service alerted Cuffari’s office seven months ago, in December 2021, that the agency had deleted thousands of agents’ and employees’ text messages in an agency-wide reset of government phones. Cuffari’s office  did not notify Congress  until mid-July, despite multiple congressional committees’ pending requests for these records.

The telephone and text communications of Wolf and Cuccinelli in the days leading up to January 6 could have shed considerable light on Trump’s actions and plans. In the weeks before the attack on the Capitol, Trump had been pressuring both men to help him claim the 2020 election results were rigged—and even to seize voting machines in key swing states to try to “re-run” the election.

“It is extremely troubling that the issue of deleted text messages related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol is not limited to the Secret Service, but also includes Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, who were running DHS at the time,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson said in a statement.

“It appears the DHS Inspector General has known about these deleted texts for months but failed to notify Congress,” Thompson said. “If the Inspector General had informed Congress, we may have been able to get better records from Senior administration officials regarding one of the most tragic days in our democracy’s history.”

Neither Cuccinelli nor Wolf responded to requests for comment. DHS’s Office of Inspector General did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The discovery of missing records for the top officials running the Department of Homeland Security during the final days of the Trump Administration raises new questions about what could have been learned, and also about what other text messages and evidence the department and other agencies may have erased, in apparent violation of the Federal Records Act.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

DOJ reportedly secures Cassidy Hutchinson’s cooperation in January 6 probe

July 28, 2022

On Wednesday, July 27, ABC News reported that former Donald Trump-era White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is cooperating with Justice Department investigators  as part of their probe into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as the former president’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“The Justice Department reached out to her following her testimony a month ago before the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, the sources said,” reported ABC’s Katherine Faulders, Mike Levine, and John Santucci. “The extent of her cooperation was not immediately clear.”

“Hutchinson becomes the latest known figure with knowledge of the actions of top Trump Administration officials on Jan. 6 to cooperate with the Justice Department’s inquiry,” said the report, according to Raw Story, which added, “A lawyer for Hutchinson did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment. Officials with the DOJ also declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the January 6 committee.”

Hutchinson, who served as an adviser to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, gave bombshell public testimony before the committee last month. Among other things, she revealed that Trump demanded rioters he knew were armed be allowed to enter the Capitol because “they’re not here to hurt me,” and that Trump attacked his own security detail in his car when they wouldn’t take him to join the rioters.

A report earlier this month indicated that she is  in hiding  amid death threats from Trump supporters.

The Washington Post revealed this week that the DOJ has shifted its investigation to  focus directly on Trump’s actions  during the riot and the plot to reverse the election—a possible sign that prosecutors are considering charges against him.

Research contact: @RawStory

Trump called ‘within the last week’ to overturn Wisconsin election results, speaker says

July 21, 2022

Wisconsin’s Republican house speaker said on Tuesday, July 19, that former president Donald Trump called him “within the last week”—seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election, reports The Washington Post.

Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos  told WISN in Milwaukee that he received a call from Trump after the state Supreme Court ruled on July 8 that most  absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin are illegal. The ruling addresses future elections—not the one Trump lost in 2020 by more than 20,000 votes.

“It’s very consistent. He makes his case, which I respect,” Vos said to WISN. “He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained that it’s not allowed under the Constitution. He has a different opinion.”

Vos said Trump then posted about him on social media. In a July 13 post on Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, the former president repeated his baseless claims of election fraud and falsely accused the speaker of letting Democrats “get away with ‘murder.’”

“What a waste of a brilliant and courageous decision by Wisconsin’s Highest Court,” Trump wrote.

On Tuesday night, Trump posted again on Truth Social and said Vos’s Republican primary opponent, Adam Steen, could benefit if Vos doesn’t take action. The primary is August 9. A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

“This is not a time for him to hide, but a time to act!” Trump wrote. “I don’t know his opponent in the upcoming Primary, but feel certain he will do well if Speaker Vos doesn’t move with gusto. Robin, don’t let the voters of Wisconsin down!”

Over the last year, Vos has said he talks to Trump regularly even though they do not see eye to eye on how to deal with the 2020 election. Vos did not immediately respond to a request for an interview Wednesday morning.

Steen said he has not talked to Trump but that the former president’s comments are lending fuel to his primary campaign. He criticized Vos for not advancing the resolution that seeks to undo the 2020 results.

“If you really want the people to know that their vote counts, you want to find the answer so what he is doing to me is spitting in the face of men and women who have given their life to this country,” he said.

In his WISN interview, Vos downplayed Trump’s latest push to try to change the results in Wisconsin. “I think we all know Donald Trump is Donald Trump,” Vos said. “There’s very little we can do to control or predict what he will do.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Sources: White House could declare climate emergency as soon as Wednesday

July 20, 2022

President Joe Biden could declare a climate emergency as soon as Wednesday, July 20, two sources familiar with the plans told The Hill on Tuesday.

One of the sources said that federal agencies are expecting an executive order declaring a climate emergency as soon as tomorrow, but it’s not entirely clear what it will entail.

A second source also said the declaration could come on Wednesday. A third person confirmed that a climate emergency declaration was under consideration by the White House, as first reported by  The Washington Post. 

Asked for comment, a White House official said that many options are under consideration. “The President made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will. We are considering all options and no decision has been made,” the person said in an email.

Research contact: @thehill